Jury convicts Ponchatoula man of 2011 slaying

A Tangipahoa Parish jury on Thursday found a 40-year-old man guilty of shooting and killing a 38-year-old man in 2011, the 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office said.

The jury found Gary Shurley Jr., of Ford Street, Ponchatoula, guilty on charges of second-degree murder, theft over $1,500 and possession of a firearm or carrying a concealed weapon by a convicted felon, the District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.

Shurley will be sentenced March 11, the District Attorney’s Office said.

A second-degree murder conviction in Louisiana brings an automatic life sentence.

Shurley was accused of shooting and killing Buster Lock, 38, on Nov. 14, 2011, at Lock’s home on Sharon Drive in Ponchatoula.

Following the shooting, Shurley took his own 15-month-old son from the premises and left in a pickup belonging to Lock, the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office has said.

Shurley was arrested about 45 minutes after the shooting was reported, the Sheriff’s Office has said.

Deputies initially only arrested Shurley on counts of kidnapping and auto theft in the shooting, but deputies later booked him on a count of first-degree murder after identifying him as the shooter, the Sheriff’s Office has said.

Jury selection in the trial began Tuesday. Closing statements were given Thursday.

Judge Ray Chutz presided over the case, which was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Angel Monistere.